Upper School AP US Government and World History teacher Woody Snowden shares how he speaks to his students during the current presidential election. Mr. Snowden has been a teacher at Sayre School for over 18 years and has taught during five presidential elections.
“I embrace it. My approach is to never necessarily reveal my personal preferences or political party affiliations. My job is to encourage thought and thinking. My job is to get a sense of the room and pull opinions out from the students I have in class and guide the discussion.” said Mr. Snowden. He believes it is never a teacher’s business to tell students which political party to favor or candidate to vote for.
“When it comes to putting it out there (in terms of viewpoints), I tend to think less is more.” He prefers to teach topics that are issue, not political, related in his classrooms - especially during AP US Government. Sayre School encourages open discussions where students are able to negotiate and reason based on factual information. A common activity in Mr. Snowden's classes include sharing an issue or topic, mark areas of the room as a particular side, and then ask students to pick a side and debate their viewpoint with fellow classmates.
Mr. Snowden has not found this election to be any worse to teach than past elections despite the craziness of the current year. He created a "predictions activity” for his students to complete this coming week to keep them engaged. Mr. Snowden said, “My job is to get students to start thinking about the election and current events and also realize what they do believe in now will change as they grow older.” One of Sayre’s fundamental goals includes educating students to be independent thinkers. Rather than push opinions on our students, it is important to give students the opportunity to learn facts and build their own opinions.
Article By: Hannah Brady, Communications Intern
Sayre School Class of 2016
University of Kentucky 2020